Today I'm talking to Jeanne Davies about her book Drawn from the Sea.
1. Tell me about your book.
Drawn by the Sea is an anthology of short stories, including a few one-hundred-word flash fictions, many of which have been included in competition anthologies. Stagnight won first prize in a flash fiction competition and gave me my first financial reward and two of the short stories were taken by an American publisher.
2. Tell us about your research for this book.
Nearly all the stories required some research or other, some more than others. I delved quite deeply into Buddhism whilst writing Waiting for the Light, looking at the lives and practises of Buddhist monks. The story is set in Tibet and I really enjoyed researching Tibetan landscapes, eagerly visualising being there. I found myself referring to passages in the old testament for The Tinderbox, as well as probing the idiosyncrasies of the Church of England. The Day Sussex Died (which was based on a true story about my Grandfather) required research into World War One and the part played by the Royal Sussex Regiment.
3. What inspired you to write this?
Inspiration for nearly all these stories came from a love of walking with my Labradors in places of natural beauty that are open to the sky, whether it is sapphire blue or the most miserable grey; exploring magnificent green spaces or wandering along the seashore with the serenity and chaos of the ocean allows the imagination to be free. Stories can also pop out of a conversation … like my husband and I randomly discussing the prison service one day which inspired one of my favourite stories, Whiteout, which is set in the not too distant future. Waiting for Susan was written after helping a nervous little girl walking home from school for the first time alone and the story still evokes emotion in me when I read it. It is strange how sometimes the stories evolve all on their own and seem to write themselves with the characters taking on their own personas. I often look back and wonder if I have actually written the stories at all, but the journeys were such fun, like living lots of other lives.
What's next after this?
Bridgehouse have been fantastic publishers and Gill has intimated that they may be interested in publishing a further anthology in the future. I will continue to enter competitions as I find the discipline of having a subject to write about often focuses the imagination, especially with writers’ block. I’d love to write a full-length novel someday, but I am still hung up on the excitement of the short story.
4. Tell us a little about your journey as a writer.
I began scribbling down poetry in junior school and one poem got printed in the local newspaper who also gave me a voucher for WH Smiths! My Aunt, who is sadly died before I had any stories published, encouraged me a great deal throughout my childhood; she was a Head Teacher and author who won many prizes for her work. I struggled to contain and modify my writing at school and my English teacher once said she wished my spelling were as good as my imagination!
5. Do you have any tips for new writers?
Finding a place where you can be alone with your thoughts is essential in my case and a voice recorder can be a useful piece of equipment. I have a battery lighted pen in my bedside drawer, so I won’t disturb my husband if I wake in the night and need to make some notes. I have always been an avid reader and am never without a book on the go.
6. How can we get a copy of the book?
by the Sea is available on Amazon in Paperback as well as Kindle. (Click on the image above an you'll be taken directly to the book on Amazon)